Endorsements In the Christian publishing world today one could almost paraphrase Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 12:12 to read, ‘of the making of many Bibles, there is no end.’ There are specialized Bibles for one’s gender, race, age, theological perspective, etc. It is thus understandable that all too often one may find himself or herself totally confused regarding which Bible to purchase. If, however you are looking for the most amount of scriptural, historical, and practical facts, look no further than THE STRAND STUDY BIBLE . This incredible Bible is not only on the cutting edge of relevant facts, it is the cutting edge!” Dr. H.L. Willmington Founder and Dean of the Willmington School of the Bible at Liberty University Driven by a passion to teach and apply scripture, Pastor Strand provides a comprehensive array of research tools – maps, charts, word studies, and chronologies – for the serious student to unlock the flow and intricacies of Biblical revelation. THE STRAND STUDY BIBLE is an invaluable contribution to hermeneutics. Keith Call Assistant Archivist at Wheaton College I have known Brad Strand for over a quarter of a century. I feel he has made available one of the finest Study Bibles ever produced. The use of history, the explanation of basic Bible doctrines, the maps, the clarification of difficult texts, and much more, gives the reader insights to the Word of God not available anywhere else. It is something every Christian, who wants to know the Bible, should have. Dr. Ed Reese Author of the Reese Chronological Bible
The ontological argument for the existence of God By Anselm of Canterbury (c. AD 1078) Anselm defined God as “that which nothing greater can be conceived,” and then argued that this Being could exist in the mind. He suggested that, if the greatest possible Being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality ( Gen 1:11 and Heb 11:3 ). Consider Anselm’s following logic: It is possible that a maximally great Being (God) can exist If it is possible that this Being exists, then this Being exists in some possible worlds If this Being exists in some possible worlds, then this Being exists in all possible worlds If this Being exists in all possible worlds, then this Being exists in the actual world If this Being exists in the actual world, then the greatest possible Being (God) exists Austrian mathematician Kurt Godel then took Anselm’s ontological theorem one step further and formalized the following theorem confirming the existence of God: God, by definition, is that for which no greater can be conceived. God exists in the understanding. If God exists in the understanding, we could imagine Him to be greater by existing in reality. Therefore, God must exist. Then, with the help of just one MacBook, two Germans computer gurus (Christoph Benzmuller of Berlin’s Free University and Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo of the Technical University in Vienna) took Godel’s ontological theorem, applied it to an Apple computer, and with an unprecedented degree of detail and formality with the help of higher-order theorem provers, confirmed Godel’s ontological theorem (proof ) of God’s existence. NOTE – One of the most inspirational books I’ve read was by Mitch Albom called Tuesdays with Morrie . It’s the true story about a wonderful little Jewish teacher/ professor by the name of Morrie Schwartz who gives his take on life after being diagnosed with ALS (The Lou Gehrig’s Disease). In it Albom notes: Now, Morrie, by his own admission, had been an agnostic for many years. But after his diagnosis of ALS, he began to explore. To rethink. He delved into religious teachings. On Tuesday in August 1995, according to my notes, we spoke about this. Morrie told me he once believed that death was cold and final. “You go in the ground and that’s it.” But now he felt differently. What is your concept now, I asked? “I have not settled on one yet…” he said, honest as always. “However, this is too harmonious, grand, and overwhelming a universe to believe that it’s all an accident.” What a thing for a onetime agnostic to say. Too harmonious, grand, and over- whelming a universe to believe that it’s all an accident? This, remember, was when Morrie’s body was an empty husk, when he needed to be washed and groomed, when he needed his nose blown and his bottom wiped. Harmonious? Grand? If he could find the world’s majesty from such a decayed and difficult posture, how hard could it be for the rest of us? 1 FINAL NOTE – Another great read is William Lane Craig’s book called The Absurity of Life Without God .
1 Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie, New York, NY, Broadway Books, 1997,2007. Print.
A s powerful and inspirational as Scripture is, it is sometimes daunting in its scope and difficult in its organization and content. Like many young believers, my first attempts to read Scripture at times left me confused and frustrated. So often I yearned for a broader context within which to understand what I was reading. The book you hold in your hands is the product of my 38 year/38,000 hour quest to find anything and everything that might make the Bible more real and interesting and understandable to me. All of the reference material I incorporated into this work – from the map excerpts spliced into the text to the cross-references to the notation of historical world events – all of it is to make this sacred text more accessible and comprehensible. I hope and pray you find that it is. S adly, Christians all over America often argue over which English version of the Bible should be studied. While some favor the Alexandrian Text [ASV (1901), RSV (1952), Anchor Bible (1964), Amplified Bible (1965), Jerusalem Bible (1966), New English Bible (1970), NAS (1971), The Living Bible (1971), Good News for Modern Man (1976), NIV (1978), New Century Bible (1988), The Message Bible (1994), and The New Living Translation (1996)], others (like myself ) favor the Antioch Text [KJV (1611) and the New King James Version (1982)]. However, common sense says: What good is any version if you can’t understand it? Point being: Whatever version one chooses to study, it still has to be understood. So this is what I did... I took the King James Version and made it understandable. I called it THE STRAND STUDY BIBLE . U nlike Calvin, who wrote his Institute of the Christian Religion just two years after his conversion, I waited almost four decades after my conversion before putting my thoughts into print. So while you may not agree with everything that you read within this reference work, as a believer, you will agree with the majority of it. Do not allow the 1–5% of what you may not agree with to ruin the 95–99% of what you do agree with. J. Vernon McGee in Thru The Bible (I Cor. - Rev.) notes: Perhaps when we get to heaven, we will find it true that there are three sides to every question: your side, my side, and the right side. Maybe the Lord will have to straighten out both of us. 1 The important thing, however, is that we ought not to argue over the non- essentials since we agree on the essentials. Please, enjoy what you “can” from this work of thirty-eight years.
1 McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible (I Cor. –Rev.), Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, 1983. Print.
G ood men’s opinions will vary on most things and the subject of salvation is no exception. However, if you get salvation wrong, you lose for all eternity, and your opinion will not have mattered. You cannot be wrong on salvation and still end up right ( Rom 14:1b ). Billy Graham in StormWarnings notes: Everyone outside the family of Christ is under the judgment of God. To share in the rewards of eternal life and security in the presence of the God of Revelation, we must first acknowledge His Son, repent, and receive Him. That is not optional, no matter what your instinct or your faith may tell you. 1 According to the Bible, there is only one way to Heaven. CHRIST said in John 14:6, “ I am the way .” He did not say, “I am a way.” He said, “ I AM the way .” The pronoun “I” is emphatic: “I, and none besides me” (Isa 43:10). If a road leads anywhere but through Jesus, it doesn’t lead to God. Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist, in an internet article called Do They Think Jesus Was a Liar? notes: I am shocked and appalled over a newly published survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It finds most Americans believe there are many ways to salvation besides their own faith. Most disturbing of all is the majority of self- identified evangelical Christians who believe this. Apparently they must think Jesus was a liar, or mistaken, when he said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.’ Look it up. This theological ignorance is a product of several things. It is surely a product of biblical illiteracy by people who don’t read, or selectively read scripture. It is also fallout from political correctness vice that says you are intolerant if you believe anything to be true, because people who have another truth, or no truth, might feel bad and experience rejection. If they feel rejection now, wait until they hear ‘away from me, I never knew you.’ Tolerance is a good thing. People should tolerate and respect people of different faiths, or no faith. But watering down your own set of professed doctrines in order to appeal to the lowest spiritual common denominator is akin to Peter denying Christ three times. If there are many paths to heaven, Jesus suffered and died for nothing. He could have stayed in heaven, sent down a book of sayings and avoided crucifixion. Orthodox Christians have always believed – and their Bible teaches them – there is only one path to heaven and it is through Jesus Christ and him alone. One can believe whatever one wishes, but you can’t be considered a Christian without believing in this fundamental doctrine. Christian churches have a lot of work to do in addressing biblical illiteracy, ignorance and, yes, heresy, in their midst. They might want to pay more attention to fixing what’s gone wrong among their members before expending too much energy on politics and politicians. 2 Sadly, there are some 3 among us who consider Jesus’ view of Christianity as intolerant. However, contrary to their opinion, Christianity isn’t intolerant; it’s inclusive , because a relationship with Jesus is available to everyone. 4
1 Graham, Billy. StormWarning , Nashville, TN, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1992 and 2010. Print. 2 Thomas, Cal. Do They Think Jesus Was a Liar? , Internet article (foxforum.blogs. foxnews.com/June 24, 2008) 3 Lutzer, Erwin W. Oprah Miracles and the New Earth , Chicago, ILL, Moody Publishers, 2009. Print. 4 Steele, C. Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid , Internet article (csteeleonline.com)
O utside of the doctrine of salvation, 1 which came to us via great LIGHT, 2 every other theological subject is, at best, clouded. Meaning: TheWord of God can appear to us at times in dark speeches ( ICor 13:12 andNum12:7-8). Paul explains that our knowledge here and now is but a blur 3 compared to what it will be when CHRIST returns. The Corinthian, who saw only darkly and in part through the exercise of the gifts, were not to glory in that which was fragmentary. Those who look to the rest of theology to provide absolutes will come to one of two conclusions: 1. Dogmatism (irresponsible dishonesty) Dogmatism is the selfish art of fooling one’s self into seeing absolutes where they don’t exist. 2. Skepticism (intellectual honesty, void of cynicism) Intellectual honesty means we can come to an informed decision about “secondary doctrines” not related to salvation, but ultimately must acknowledge that the issues may be too clouded to allow for absolute certainty. Honest skepticism allows for flexibility and cooperation with other believers within the body of CHRIST with whom we may disagree with concerning “non-heaven and hell issues.” The admission of uncertainty concerning theology not related to salvation can be unsettling, yes, but at least it’s honest. Louis Paul Lehman in Questions I Had to Settle notes: A minister learns respect for the question mark as the fisherman learns respect for the hook. Not everyone has the same questions, but everyone has some question. Not everyone with the same question will be satisfied with the same answer. 4 W hen it comes to secondary doctrines (non-heaven and hell issues), Christians can, yea will, differ. William E. Anderson in Rapture? Sure… but when? notes: How can any sincere and studious Christian be wrong about anything? Why could Peter and Paul have differed so as is reported in Galatians chapter two? How could the differences between Paul and John Mark have become so contentious that a fellowship crisis in that early missionary team was produced? How can there be so many diverse denominations today? How can two Christian luminaries such as John Calvin and John Wesley differ so radically about how God saves men, one being “Calvinist” and the other “Arminian”? Christians differ. 5 And the reason Christians can, yea will, differ on subjects not related to salvation is because knowledge here and now is in part ; it is but a blur compared to what it will be when CHRIST returns. 1 Gen 49:18 , Exo 14:13,30-31 , Psa 74:12 , Jonah 2:9 , Hab 1:5 , Mt 7:13-14 , Lk 7:50 , Jn 4:14 & 5:29 & 6:28-29 , Rom 13:11 , Titus 3:5a and Heb 6:1c 2 Gen 1:3 b, Lk 2:30-32 & 18:34 and Jn 1: 3- 5 3 Deut 29:29 4 Lehman, Louis Paul. Questions I Had to Settle , Grand Rapids, MI, Lamp-Lighter Prod., 1965. Print. 5 Anderson, William E. Rapture? Sure… but when? , Holiday, FLA, Green Key Books, 2003. Print.
A gain, good men’s opinions will vary on most things and the field of dating and Bible chronology is no exception. Nevertheless, the variance of a few years amongst scholars and/or the placement of certain passages of Scripture hardly disrupt the flow of any basic chronological order. Floyd Nolen Jones in The Chronology of the Old Testament notes: Chronology is the science of dividing time into regular intervals and assigning dates to historic events in their proper order. Without it, we would find it impossible to understand the sequence of historical events, biblical or non- biblical. As chronology is the very foundation on which history rests and the skeletal framework giving it structure and shape, the events of history can only be meaningful and properly understood as long as they are kept in their proper time sequence. 1 Henrietta C. Mears in What the Bible Is All About notes: “Most people’s knowledge of history is like a string of graduated pearls without the string,” said an historian. This statement seems to be especially true of Bible history. Many people know the Bible characters and the principal events, but they are hopelessly lost when they are called upon to connect the stories in order. Anyone who has experienced the thrill of learning to place the individual characters in their right setting as to place and time, can realize the difference it makes in his enjoyment of God’s Word. 2 Because I believe God to be a God of order, I chose to follow the dating pattern given to us by Peter in II Peter 3:3-8:
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation . For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day…
The one day that Peter spoke about here in verse eight refers back to the beginning of the creation (week of creation) found in Genesis 1-2. Just as the creation of the earth took six days and then God rested on the seventh, so there would seem to indicate a six thousand year period followed by a thousand year rest, called the Millennium. Therefore, creation started around 4000 BC. I have discovered that, given a date in which to start, the Bible unfolds itself in a tabulated manner.
1 Jones, Floyd Nolen. The Chronology of the Old Testament , Green Forest, AR, Master Books, 1993-2004 2 Mears, Henrietta C. What the Bible Is All About , Glendale, CA, Regal Books, 1953. Print
T he King James Version (KJV), with few exceptions, 1 is a remarkable translation for three reasons: 1. It is probably the only translation in which no parties involved had an axe to grind The translation of the KJV back in the 1600’s was a national undertaking in which no one had any interest at heart, save that of producing the best possible English version of the Scriptures. New York Times writer Charles McGrath, in an article called Still Strong after 400 Years , notes: The King James Bible, first published 400 years ago, may be the single best thing ever accomplished by committee. The Bible was the work of 54 scholars and clergymen who met over seven years in six nine- man subcommittees, called “companies.” In a preface to the new Bible, Miles Smith, one of the translators and a man so impatient that he once walked out of a boring sermon and went to the pub, wrote that anything new inevitably “endured many a storm of gainsaying, or opposition.” So there must have been disputes – shouting; table pounding; high-ruffed, black gowned clergymen folding their arms and stomping out of the room – but there is no record of them… …And that all 54 of them were able to agree on every phrase, every comma, without sounding as gassy and evasive as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, is little short of amazing, in itself proof of something like divine inspiration. 2 J. Paterson Smyth in How We Got our Bible agrees. He notes: Fifty-four learned men were selected impartially from High Churchmen and Puritans, as well as from those who, like Saville and Boys, represented scholarship totally unconnected with any party. 3 NOTE – The first edition of the Greek text to be published was that of Desiderius Erasmus. It was printed in Basle in 1516 and was used by Martin Luther for his German translation. Erasmus also published editions in 1522, 1527, and 1535. Fifteen years later in 1550 Robert Stephens published his edition, known as the “royal edition,” which followed the text of the 1527 and 1535 editions of Erasmus. Fifteen years after that in 1565 Theodore Beza published his edition in Geneva, which followed the text of Stephens. The editions of Erasmus, Stephens, and Beza (particularly that of 1598) were the chief sources used for the translation of the King James Version in 1611. 2. It is the most beautiful, beloved, and most popular English translation to date, and is literally “melodic” when read Henry M. Morris in A Creationist’s Defense Of The King James Bible notes: The translators were not only Biblical scholars but accomplished writers, and one of the deliberate goals–in fact, a part of their assignment–was to produce a Bible that would “sing” with beauty and power, and would also retain literal faithfulness to the Greek and Hebrew texts, which had themselves been written with majestic musical beauty. 4 Robert McCrum, William Cray and Robert MacNeil in The Story of English call the King James Bible “probably the single most influential book ever published in the English language. Noting the literary accomplishments of the Elizabethan period in England, they noted: NOTE – While it is true that the newer versions of the Bible use “up-to-date” modern English, it is also true that the newer versions will omit up to forty-five verses in the New Testament, either in the footnotes or from the text itself, that are otherwise found in the King James Version. 5 That is why as many as 160 million Christians still use the KJV as their primary Bible translation. 3. It was translated from the Received Text ( Textus Receptus ) Although the KJV was not translated from the supposedly “earliest” Greek texts, it was translated from the Majority Text ( Textus Receptus ; the preserved text of God 6 ). NOTE – I used the Cambridge Edition 7 of the Textus Receptus for this work ( Josh 19:2 and Jere 34:16 ). 1 Acts 7:45 , Lk 3:36 , I Jn 5:7-8 and Mk 16:9-20 2 McGrath, Charles. Still Strong after 400 Years (5/8/2011 – The Dallas Morning News) 3 Smyth, J. Paterson. How We Got our Bible , NY, NY, Harper & Brothers Pub, 1899. Print. 4 The King James EASY-READING Red Lettered Study Bible . Humboldt, TN., G.E.M. Pub, 2009. Print. 5 Heb 10:39 6 Psa 12: 6- 7 , Mt 5:18 and Lk 11:51 7 Norton, David. A Textual History of the King James Bible , UK, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print. The achievements of these astonishing years [i.e., 1558-1625, the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I] are inescapably glorious…During their reigns, about seventy years, the English language achieved a richness and vitality of expression that even contemporaries marveled at. 4
How We Got THE Bible (God’s Word)
T he Apostle Paul said in II Timothy 3:16:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
This term ( inspiration of God ) comes from the Greek word θ ε ο πνευ στ ος ( theopneustos ), and means, “ God ( θ ε ο ς) breathed (πνεω).” There are three products of God’s creative breath: (1) the universe (Psa 33:6); (2) man (Gen 2:7 and Job 32:8); and (3) the Scriptures (II Tim 3:16, II Pet 1:17-21 and Jn 10:35). Concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures , Charles Ryrie in The Ryrie Study Bible notes: Inspiration is God’s superintending of human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error in the words of the original autographs His revelation to man. 1 Meaning: Every word (verbal inspiration) was chosen by God, and not one word was omitted (plenary inspiration). The inspiration of the Scriptures was a supernatural influence of the SPIRIT OF GOD upon divinely chosen human representatives in which their writings became God-authored. The Bible says that God “breathed out” the Scriptures. It does not say that He “breathed” into the human authors. The authors were not inspired; the Scriptures were inspired. Only through the influence of the HOLY SPIRIT did the human writers of the Bible actualize the divine initiative. Henrietta C. Mears in What the Bible Is All About notes : According to Paul the writers of the Bible were “borne along” ( moved ) by the HOLY SPIRIT . Thus the Scriptures were not a product of the human authors and did not depend upon human initiative for its origin. According to our SAVIOR , every letter of every word within the Sacred Scriptures, including the diacritical marks, is God-breathed ( Mt 5: 17- 18 ). Thus the Bible came to us supernaturally ( holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost ), with minimal interference by man. Comprised of sixty-six books, written over a period of some 1,500 years, by approximately forty different authors, the Bible marched relentlessly down through history, with such orderly progression and ease, that it is tough to argue with its claim of divine inspiration. Hebrews 1:1-2 says: While divine, it is human. The thought is divine, the revelation is divine, the expression of the communication is human. Holy men [human element] of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost [divine element]. 2 F or the first 2,600 years of human history (from c. 4000 – 1400 BC) there was no Written Word . There was only The Spoken Word . Up until the time of Moses (c. 1568-1448 BC) the Word of God was not etched on paper; it was etched upon men’s hearts and passed down from one generation to the next. In fact, not one person in the book of Genesis (from Adam – Joseph) or the book of Job had a written copy of the Word of God. The only Word they had was what was written in their hearts and passed down to them by word of mouth ( Job 22:22 & 23:12 ). Long before The Written Word was ever written down there existed unwritten laws that God had “spoken” upon men’s hearts ( Rom 2: 12- 15 ). Called the “laws before the Law,” these twenty-one laws appeared to be the most meaningful of all the laws to God. Even heathen kings, such as King Ur-Nammu (the Code of King Ur-Nammu - c. 2060 BC) and King Hammurabi (the Code of Hammurabi - c. 1728-1686 BC) appeared to be aware of these laws ( Gen 12:14-20 & 26:5 -11). The Written Word T he oldest book in The Written Word is the book of Job , dated c. 1625 BC. Although we are not sure as to who wrote the book of Job, some think it might have been Moses (c. 1568-1448 BC). Whoever wrote Job penned it in Hebrew, and left it to us as Scripture. Both Ezekiel (Ezk 14:14,20) and James (Jms 5:10-11) considered Job to be a historical person. The second oldest books in The Written Word are the five books of Moses ( Genesis – Deuteronomy ). Also penned in Hebrew, these books were probably written over a forty-year period, sometime between 1487 and 1448 BC. Outside of a few isolated passages that were written in Aramaic (Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Daniel 2:4-7:28; Jere 10:11), the entire Old Testament was penned in Hebrew, a pictorial, personal language, appealing more to the heart than to the mind. According to Luke 11: 50- 51 , Jesus fixed the limits on the extent of the “canonized” books of the Old Testament at the 39 books we have today ( Genesis – Malachi ). In the case of the New Testament all 27 books ( Matthew – Revelation ) were penned in Greek, the universal language of that day, which appealed more to the mind than to the heart. The New Testament was collected and “canonized” by the Council of Carthage in AD 397. The Living Word A ccording to Hebrews 1:2, God saved His best “Word” for last. His last best word to the human race was JESUS, The Living Word (Jn 1:1,14). God will not speak to us again until CHRIST returns at the Second Coming. Until then, we have The Spoken Word etched on our hearts, The Written Word engraved on our minds, and The Living Word embossed on our will. 1 Ryrie, Charles C. The Ryrie Study Bible , Chicago, ILL, Moody Press, 1978. Print. 2 Mears, Henrietta C. What the Bible Is All About , Glendale, CA, Regal Books, 1953. Print. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets (via the spoken and/or written Word) , Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son (the Living Word - Jn 1:1,14) , whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; According to Hebrews 1:1-2, God passed down His inspired Word to us via three vehicles: The Spoken Word
How We Got OUR Bible (our English Bible) W hile God found it expedient to speak to the human race through The Spoken Word and The Living Word in times past, He has chosen to communicate with all people for all ages through The Written Word ( II Pet 1: 15- 21 ). According to the Bible, what God gave to us by inspiration, He kept for us by preservation . The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:89: For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35: Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away . The complete process by which these books came to be generally regarded as exclusively authoritative is not known for either the Hebrew or Christian canon. We do, however, appear to have a selection of certain books that have been preserved. Obviously, a God wise enough to communicate His words to man is powerful enough to preserve them. The question is: How did God preserve what He inspired? J ews, Christians and Catholics all have ‘canons’ of scripture. The Jewish canon consists of 39 books (the Old Testament); the Christian canon consists of 66 books (the Old and New Testaments); and the Catholic canon consists of 73 books (the Old and New Testaments plus 7 of the 13 books of the Apocrypha ). So why is it that some books have been ‘canonized’ while others, such as, the Gnostic Gospels ( Colo 2:16 ) and the Apocrypha ( Lk 11:51 ) have not? And why is it that some books that are talked about within the Scriptures, such as, the book of the Wars of the Lord (Num 21:14), the book of Jasher (Josh 10:13 and II Sam 1:18), the book of the annals of Solomon (I Ki 11:41), the book of Nathan the prophet , and the book of Gad the seer (I Chro 29:29), became information instead of inspiration? It’s called preservation; God preserved what He inspired. W.H. Griffith Thomas in How We Got Our Bible notes:
At this point the important question arises how we can be sure that our Bible today really represents the books which have been thus naturally and simply collected into a volume. The answer is that it is quite easy to prove that our Bible is the same as the church has had through the centuries. We start with the printed Bibles of today and it is obviously easy to show that they correspond with the printed Bibles of the sixteenth century, or the time when printing was invented. From these we can go back through the English and Latin versions until we reach the great manuscripts of the fourth century as represented by the three outstanding codices known as the Codex Sinaiticus (in Petrograd), the Codex Vaticanus (in Rome) and the Codex Alexandrinus (in the British Museum). Then we can go back still farther and compare the use of Scripture in the writings of the Fathers of the third century, and from these work back to the second century when versions in several languages are found. From this it is but a short step to the time of the apostles and the actual composition of the New Testament writings. There is no reasonable doubt that we possess today what has always been regarded as the Scriptures of the Christian Church. 1
The sixty-six books we call “the Bible” were written, copied, and circulated amongst the churches of the ancient world. God made sure of that. Thus, the originals were copied and recopied for centuries by hand: the Codex Sinaiticus (c. AD 330), Codex Vaticanus (c. AD 330), Coptic Version (c. AD 350), Ethiopic Version (c. AD 350), Codex Argentus (c. AD 350 – Gothic Version), Armenian Version (c. AD 400), Codex Alexandrinus (c. AD 450 from Egypt), and English Versions (from c. AD 700 – present day). This is how God preserved what He inspired. He made sure that His words were never lost or hidden, but that they were copied and recopied till He had tens of thousands of copies. The King James Study Bible notes:
The doctrine of preservation argues that inspired books providentially survived, implying that the lost books were not inspired. They may have recorded interesting background to the inspired record of God, but they were not Scripture. 2 The History of the Received Text ( Antioch Text ; Textus Receptus )
U p until the fall of Constantinople, in which crowds of Greek scholars were driven for refuge into Western Europe (May, 1454), and the invention of the printing press (November, 1454) our pile of “ancient manuscripts” (our Scriptures in their original language) remained untouched. For almost 1,000 years, from c. AD 400 to 1476 (the first Greek grammar was published in 1476 and the first Hebrew grammar in 1503) all mankind had in the form of a Bible was St. Jerome’s translation of the “ancient manuscripts” in the form of Latin. Concerning Eusebius Hieronymus (better known to us as St. Jerome) and his work (The Latin Vulgate), J. Paterson Smyth in How We Got our Bible notes:
No other work has ever had such an influence on the history of the Bible. For more than a thousand years it was the parent of every version of the Scriptures in Western Europe, and even now, when the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are so easily accessible, the Rhemish and Douay Testaments are translations direct from the Vulgate, and its influence is quite perceptible even on our own Authorized Version. 3
Even Wycliffe’s English translation (1383) was a translation of St. Jerome’s Latin translation. It wasn’t until the Greek scholars were forced into Europe from Constantinople that mankind was finally able in 1516 to produce a New Testament from the “ancient manuscripts.” T hanks in part to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, the majority of Christians believe they have the preserved Word of God concerning the Hebrew Old Testament. Concerning the New Testament, however, there are some disagreements. Up until the 1880s every English Bible (with exception to a few earlier translations, including John Wycliffe’s in 1383, which was a translation of a translation based on the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome) was translated from the same Greek text, i.e., the Textus Receptus , which came from the Byzantine (Antioch) textual family.
How We Got OUR Bible (our English Bible) I t all started with Erasmus, a great Greek scholar and friend of Sir Thomas More, who set himself to the study of these now available “ancient manuscripts,” and so gave to the world in 1516 his famous Greek New Testament. Then came Erasmus’ student; a man who was to use these new powers with such marvelous effect in the service of the English Bible. His name… William Tyndale. It was said of Tyndale that of all the heroes of the Reformation there was none worthier than him. Note the progression of the English Bible: * Tyndale (1525) – William Tyndale (1483-1536) was born a year after Martin Luther, and a hundred years after the death of Wycliffe. Tyndale was a master of seven languages: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, English, and French. He revised his first New Testament (1525) nine years later in 1534, and again in 1535. * Coverdale (1535 – a revised edition of Tyndale’s version) – J. Paterson Smyth in How We Got our Bible notes: * Matthews’ Bible (1537 – a revised edition of Tyndale’s; prepared by John Rogers) * The Great Bible (1539 – a revised edition of Coverdale’s and Matthews’ version, which came from Tyndale’s) – J. Paterson Smyth in How We Got our Bible notes: Yet this “Great Bible,” the Authorized Version of the nation, was virtually Tyndale’s! 3 * Taverner’s Bible (a revised edition of Matthews’ Bible, which of course came from Tyndale’s version; prepared by Cranmer) * The Geneva Bible (1560) – The Reformers who had fled to Geneva returned to their homes (1556), bearing with them a new version of the Bible, the work of the best years of their banishment. The Geneva Bible was more a revision than a translation, being chiefly based on Tyndale. NOTE – The Geneva Bible was the first to recognize the divisions into verses, the first to omit the Apocrypha , the first to omit Paul’s name from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the first to use italics for all words not occurring in the original. T he Textus Receptus is used generically to apply to all editions of the Greek New Testament, which follow the early printed editions of Erasmus. There were approximately thirty distinct editions of the Textus Receptus made over the years, each differing slightly from the others. In fact, there are less than 300 minor differences between the thirty editions. The first edition of the Greek text ( Textus Receptus ) to be published was that of Desiderius Erasmus. It was printed in Basle in 1516 and was used by Martin Luther for his German translation and William Tyndale for his English translation (1525). Erasmus also published editions in 1522, 1527, and 1535. Fifteen years later in 1550 Robert Stephens published his edition, known as the “royal edition,” which followed the text of the 1527 and 1535 editions of Erasmus. Fifteen years after that in 1565 Theodore Beza published his edition in Geneva, which followed the text of Stephens. The editions of Erasmus, Stephens, and Beza (particularly that of 1598) were the chief sources used for the translation of the King James Version in 1611. Thus, from the 1580s to the 1880s there was little if any bickering amongst Christians concerning the Greek text ( Textus Receptus ) that was used to translate the English Bible. Then came the discovery of the Critical Text in the late 1800s. The History of the Critical Text ( Alexandrian Text ) I n the latter part of the 19th century, a few Greek texts, which had disappeared for over 1500 years, were discovered in Alexandria, Egypt. Because those who discovered them dated them a hundred years earlier than the Byzantine (Antioch) texts, they were thought to be more accurate. Thus, all your newer versions of the English Bible: American Standard Version (1901), Revised Standard Version (1952), Anchor Bible (1964), Amplified Bible (1965), Jerusalem Bible (1966), New English Bible (1970), New American Standard Bible (1971), The Living Bible (1971), Good News for Modern Man Bible (1976), New International Version (1978), New Century Bible (1988), The Message Bible (1994), and The New Living Translation (1996), come from these texts. The only problem, however, is that the Alexandrian Texts differ with the Textus Receptus in over 6,000 places. So the question you have to ask yourself is: “Which of the two Greek texts that are used to print English Bibles today will I choose? Will I choose a Bible (KJV and NKJV) whose roots go back to Antioch ( Received Text ), from where the Church was sent to evangelize the world (Acts 13-28), or will I choose a Bible (ASV, RSV, NASB, TLB, NIV, etc.) that was hidden for 1500 years and goes back to Alexandria, Egypt ( Critical Text )?” Reese Currie in The Reliability of the New King James Version notes: * The Bishop’s Bible (1568) – a very inferior production * The King James Version (1611 – Authorized Version) I believe that the Byzantine text-type is superior to the modern critical text for a few reasons. First, the text is geographically closest to the storehouse of the originals, Antioch. Second, for all the charges that “additions” were made to the Byzantine majority text, no one can point to any significant additions in the 1500-year known history of the type, from 500AD to 1500AD. Third, the Alexandrian texts suffer drop-out errors due to the distance from Antioch; they were receiving copies of copies with no originals to compare to. Fourth, the Alexandrian text fell out of use around 600AD, probably because it was recognized to be inferior to the Byzantine text. 4 1 Thomas, W.H. Griffith. How We Got Our Bible , Dallas, TX, Dallas Seminary Press, 1984. Print. 2 The King James Study Bible . Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson Pub., 1988. Print. 3 Smyth, J. Paterson. How We Got our Bible , NY, NY, Harper & Brothers Pub., 1899. Print. 4 Currie, Reese. The Reliability of the New King James Version (Internet Article) < http://tinyurl.com/kcyrf7a>. Web.. Coverdale was a man of sympathetic nature and fine literary instinct and the attractive English of his translation has considerably influenced the language of the Authorized Version. His Bible makes no pretence to be an original translation; it is “translated out of Douche and Latin into English,” with the help of “five sundry interpreters” ( i.e., translators), and the chief of these “interpreters” is evidently William Tyndale, whom, in the New Testament especially, he closely follows. 3
PREFACE T his Study Bible has been a lifelong venture. I believe Christians from all persuasions will benefit from it. True scholars will find this work “fair and balanced.” Since its conception in September of 1977, almost 40,000 hours have gone into the completion of this reference bible. May the CHAPTER OUTLINES (explaining where CHRIST can be found in that particular book), CHRONOLOGICAL OUTLINES, Introductions , Subject Heads , Dates , Boxed Scripture (referencing the Triune Godhead), Cross-references , Footnotes , Inset satellite imaging maps , Religious Notes , HIStorical Notes , Historical Notes , Chronological Readings , PROPHETICAL EVENTS , Charts , “MINI” SERIES, and BIBLE HELPS be of help to you, the reader. Nevertheless, they are only aids. The Bible would be of great value without them, as only the Scriptures are truly inspired and important. W.H. GriffithThomas in How We Got Our Bible notes: Dr. Andrew Murray has reminded us in one of his books that milk represents food which has already passed through digestive processes before it is taken by us. So we may say that all the little books of devotion, the helps to holiness, the series of manuals of thought and teaching, however valuable, represent food which has passed through the spiritual digestion of others before it comes to us. And it should be as such. If these helps are put first, to the exclusion of the Bible alone, and the Bible day by day, they will become dangerous and disastrous, crutches that prevent vigorous exercise, and lead to spiritual senility. If they are put second, they become delightful and valuable, inspirations to further thought and pathways to deeper blessings. 1 T he beauty behind this reference work is that it chronologically connects the entire Bible into one common theme, and that theme is CHRIST . Robert Farrar Capon in The Parables of Judgment notes: As you may be aware, this unifying, Jesus-is-everywhere-in-the-Bible method of interpreting the history of salvation has been around for a long time. If you have ever looked at the running page headings printed in some editions of the King James Bible, you will recall that the compilers of that version felt quite free to read Christ into the Old Testament. 2 After all, what is the purpose of the Bible but to relate to mankind what was necessary to renew our relationship with our Creator. And what is this necessary element? JESUS CHRIST , the MESSIAH , God’s promise of salvation. Woven into all the Scripture, therefore, is the perfect portrait of God’s beloved SON . From Genesis to Revelation, the central message of the Bible does not change: it is the promise and fulfillment of CHRIST . The only distinction between Old Testament believers and New Testament believers is their view of the cross. Whereas Old Testament saints looked forward to the promise of the coming MESSIAH (Gen 3:15 & 22:8, Jn 8:56 and Heb 11:24-26), New Testament saints look back on the fulfillment of that promise. Thus, the key to understanding Scripture, as God intended, is to realize His common theme: JESUS CHRIST . W.B. Pope, the great Methodist theologian notes: That the New Testament as fulfillment should so perfectly correspond with the Old Testament as prophecy is in itself the most wonderful phenomenon in literature: it is evidence as near demonstration as needs be of the intervention of a divine Hand. The Redeemer made manifest in the later Scripture answers face to face, and feature for feature, to the form predicted in the older Scripture. One idea runs through the whole: the kingdom of God set up or restored in His incarnate Son. 1 M ay this red -letter edition of both the Old and New Testaments, along with the blue -letter (for the FATHER ) and purple -letter (for the HOLY SPIRIT ), help you to see this common theme throughout the Bible and open to you in a living way the only Book God ever authored.
His servant and yours, Brad Strand
1 Griffith, Thomas, W.H. How We Got Our Bible , Dallas, TX, Dallas Seminary Press, 1984. Print. 2 Capon, Robert Farrar. The Parables of Judgment , Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans Pub, 1989. Print.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT T his work of almost forty years is dedicated to Frank Owens, a bible graduate of a Methodist University, who cared enough to pick me up while I was hitchhiking to D.D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois back in 1971 and witness to me about salvation through Jesus Christ . The following poem is dedicated to Frank Owens :
I’ve never met a better MAN ( God-Man ) than the MAN ( Jesus Christ ) I met last night And though I’ve never met the MAN I met the man ( Frank Owens ) HE liked This man … he came and picked me up and told me about the MAN And though I’ve never met the MAN the man HE liked I met. This man I met that knew the MAN … (the MAN I’ve never met), Told me things about the MAN ; things I will never forget No wonder this man worships the MAN
who arose and is now at rest I’ve never met a better MAN than the man who knew HIM best I wish to thank the following people who have inspired, encouraged and supported me in this endeavor: My friends Steve and Kitty Sloan Randy and Tammy Mainini
Bob and Donna Giffin Mi ke and Vicki Reed Carolyn and Lloyd Powell Todd / Sam /Tanner Barnes John and Suzan Hennon Mac and Norma McCrory Terry and Charlotte Dundas Phillip and Erika Hatfield
My fellow laborers Peggy Strand Brett Strand Steve Fisher Jerry Kimmel Danny Clubb Larry Chapman John Marino Randy Overstreet
My friend Brad Smith for his generous gift that made the printing of this second edition possible
PROVERBS 13:19 “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul...”
PURPOSE OF THE STRAND STUDY BIBLE T he purpose of THE STRAND STUDY BIBLE is to help believers gain a better understanding of God and to introduce non-believers to salvation. Thus, the beauty of this work is that it was not written with any particular Christian denomination in mind. It was not compiled to appeal to a certain “clientele” within Christendom. K.P. Yohannan in Against the Wind said it right when he said: Satan has done a masterful job of deception within the Body of Christ. Christianity has been redefined to fit modern society. It is now a good moneymaking business. The Christian music and enterainment industry skyrockets, while the Word of God is peddled for profit and the authentic Christian life of surrender and obedience is tossed aside as legalism. More than 2 billion people who do not know Jesus head toward hell to perish for eternity, while the Church laughs its way to hysteria, claiming this is the sign of the last days’ outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Instead of laying down our lives to serve the purposes of God, we try numerous ways to make the Almighty God our servant to fulfill all our dreams and desires. My brothers and sisters, this is not Christianity. 1 W elcome to a reference work that does not cater to any particular Christian denomination! This work was composed with one purpose in mind –to better help the reader understand three truths: 1. Who God is ( Gen 1:1c , Isa 66:12-13 and Jn 4:24a , b ) 2. Why He created us ( Gen 1:28a & 2:17b , Ezk 28:12 , Rev 12:12 , Isa 6:2 and Jere 9:2 ) 3. What He expects from our life (Jn 6:39-40 and I Sam 18:17b ) T here is only one Bible. It contains the mind of God, the way to salvation, light for direction, food for strength, and comfort for the brokenhearted. It is incomparable, inexhaustible, and inspired (II Tim 3:16 and II Pet 1:20-21). It contains 3,566,480 letters, 810,697 words, over 31,100 verses, 1,189 chapters, and 66 books. It is, therefore, a “divine library,” enclosed in one Book that is divided into two parts: 1. The Old Testament (The Old Covenant) - The OT deals primarily with the nation of Israel and God’s covenant with them through Moses. The Mosaic covenant (Exo 24:8 & II Ki 23:2 & II Cor 3:14) disclosed God’s plan and purpose for a nation who was to bring forth the MESSIAH (the Savior of all mankind – Gen 49:8-10, Num 24:17-19, Isa 7:14 & 9:6 & 53:1-12 and Jn 4:25,42). 2. The New Testament (The New Covenant) - The NT, on the other hand, begins with the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of the MESSIAH ( JESUS CHRIST - Heb 9:15-17). The New Testament deals with the promise of salvation through the shed blood of Christ our Lord. According to Matthew 26:28, it is Christ’s blood that is the basis of this new covenant. Thus, the unifying theme for both the Old and New Testaments is JESUS CHRIST . “ Worthy is the LAMB that was slain ” (Rev 5:12).
1 Yohannan, K.P., Against the Wind , Wills Point, TX, gfa books, 2004. Print.